Grain // Normality

"Against the grain" : Against what is normal. 

I love when people look in disgust at my film cameras, being blown off as "Oh, just another hipster." But I also love when someone reacts with excitement and understanding in their eye upon seeing I'm shooting film. Those who know, simply know. 

I developed these in my bathroom. Developer on my hands making them rough, fixer in the air and The Doors playing in the background. Breath and slowly but surely the images appear. Physical recording of life. Light to celluloid. Tangible, chemical, magical reactions to moments. 

Embrace the grain.

 

Me and my friend James Harper (woodworker and painter) will be running darkroom prints of some of these in March. These will be the first from the beginning of the year. If any catch your eye contact me at jesse@jesselittlebird.com 

 

Next Three Miles CD Release with The Handsome Family and Wildewood

I was super honored to shoot such an amazing show. 

I found myself with the 35mm more than the Canon 5D that night. So most of the digital shots are taken by friend James Harper. 

Was my first time seeing The Next Three Miles and second seeing The Handsome Family and I am still reeling from the vibes of this night.

Thanks for viewing! Check out all the amazing bands! 

First a few of my favorite Leica shots. Shot on Kodak Tri-x and developed in Rodinal. Also shot a roll of Cinestill 800T which was sent off to Richard Photo Lab. I'm always excited about the images that come out of that film so check back for these when I get the scans back. 

2015 // The Bathroom Darkroom Series

I'm committed to film purely for the year of 2015.

Bathroom Darkroom will be an ongoing series this year. It is simply black and white film processed in my bathroom. Experimentation and mistakes. Physical rendering of the world around me. 

Follow this series on instagram as well @jesselittlebird

Crash X Roll Film // #LCTR

A few years back my good friend James Harper painted on his bike "Lightning Crash, Thunder Roll." He was always writing random things on things. Haha. But this one stuck out to me. I've always wanted to make movies. Moving images that tell stories. Ever since seeing my father on the big screen as a little kid, I've felt this connection to storytelling and talking images. I remember as a child sitting through the thunder monsoons in Santa Fe. The crashing of the lightning, and that rolling thunder has a primal throbbing that goes into the heart of us all. It is this connection I made when I saw these words. Cinema is storytelling, primal and instilled in the heart. Images that spark emotion and thought are the lightning. I started making visual tellings that came to my mind later. Some personal to me and others that just looked cool. 

A few years later, it became sour to me. That connection was faint, I didn't see it in the work I now had put myself into. The struggles of life and the bickerings of too many cooks in the kitchen covered my eyes. I moved away from writing and directing. Letting others have their voice. Collaboration had left a bad taste in my mouth. I needed time to breathe and find what was lost.

Photography gave me that. Seeing films that excited me in the darkness of theaters rekindled the spark. After a little break from the writing and directing of a project very close to my heart. On this morning I set my pen to the paper again.

It gives me great pride to announce Crash X Roll Film is still very much alive and kicking.

I had said in the past that I was moving away from video work and this is still true in the fact that I'm not taking on many jobs for hire in regards to video. (Documentary work, weddings, promo, or to put it blatant: a camera for hire) 

That said, moving forward me and the ever changing crew are excited to shoot quality and creative music videos all while working on our main top secret project.

As of now the household crew is just me and Shaandiin Tome. Collaboration is what we're after.

If you are interested in collaborating or joining us on a project (paid gigs) contact me with the subject "Crew Involvement" at: 
jesse@jesselittlebird.com 

We currently have two projects that need positions filled.

Be sure to list your experience, talents, influence, and interest.

Cheers to collaboration.

 


The Making of "Pity Party" // Collaboration

I've had the privilege to have worked with a lot of great people here in my home state of New Mexico. It is a lightning rod for talented artists of all mediums and crafts. Kevin Herig is one of those people. Founder of Rock 101 music camp and amazing singer/songwriter, we first met at the release of his first album "Give It All Away" in the Winter of 2013. I was blown away at passion in his songs and music. Music that meant something, conveyed emotion and raw energy. From that point on I knew I wanted to work with this cool dude. 

Fast forward a year, it was the evening of Wildewood's second album release (which I had the amazing opportunity to have my photos on the insert of their CD) and me and Kevin are talking about the prospect of creating a music video. We both wanted something simple, asthectically pleasing, and unique to what other's have shot here in Albuquerque. As with all my work I want my voice to come across, but also be in harmony with the artist that have so graciously chosen me to be apart of. I had been telling Kevin about my "philosophy" on moment. How a photograph is just a single moment. How what really interests me lately when taking photos is the moments that happen before and after "the shot." How could we convey that in a video? One way I saw that would be a technique was inspired by a video I had recently seen on Vimeo of this creative couple who shot their vacation in Paris all through the ground glass of an old Pentax 67 medium format camera. I thought this technique would be a perfect fit to showcase Kevin's music. 

#steallikeanartist

#steallikeanartist

I love my Hasselblad, I love the waist level viewfinder, the mechanical-ness of it, the familiarity of the buttons and of course the images that come out of it. I love seeing peoples faces when they hold it and look through it, I've loved the way it has changed the way I see the world. It has a soul all onto its own. 

Now with this video the first thing that needed to be taken care of was the building of a rig that would support the Hassie and a small video camera positioned just right to give the POV of that feeling of looking into this world we would create. I could have ghetto rigged something up but it definitely would have problems. Me and Kevin thought of all the handy wood working people we knew and we went to our friend Josh Stuyvesant. 

Go spend a day with Josh and get saw dust in your lungs. You won't regret it. 

Josh could have just nailed a couple of 2x4s together and I would have been happy but the craftsmanship that went into this simple rig was unmatched and I really would like to commemorate Josh on that. 

Here are some photos courtesy of James Drummond from the day of the shoot. A swell dude who is hardworking and very easy to work with. Top notch guy to have on any set. 

I think one of the most important things me and Kevin discussed is we wanted the video to have a laid back feel to itself and not take itself too too seriously. Both of us are not overly serious guys haha but we do take our crafts seriously. We wanted the day of the shoot to be a fun day and it was. Just a bunch of bros hanging out shooting a video. We were also blessed with the first part of the day with a great overcast sky that made shooting a little easier with the lighting the way it was. 

We finished all the shooting in a day. Which in itself, is a great feat. We ended with a lovely evening at dinner among friends. 

All that was left was hand the footage off to Shaandiin Tome, an up and coming filmmaker with amazing attention to detail and a gifted eye for editing. She is also coincidentally my girlfriend haha.

Lastly, we handed off the edit to the respected colorist Jesse Heidenfeld to color grade the project and give it life.

Also, we sent off the actually 120 film that was used in making of the portraits during filming. I had no idea what to expect but was happy that most of them came out great. Some are missed focus due the difficulty of focusing through two screens but the imperfections of film are what make it great. Here are the five rolls of film that were shot.

Was super stoked to work on this and look forward to working more with all the people involved in this video and process. More cinematic projects are in the works and the revamping and awakening of the Crash X Roll Productions is coming about. Check back next blog post.

Last but certainly not least here is the link to the video. Give it a look and check out the rest of Kevin's music at www.kevinherig.com.

Cheers,

Jesse



Things I Love // Things You Should Love Too.

Things (in no particular order):

Film.

Old Cameras.

Craft Beer.

Vast Expanses of Beautiful Landscape.

Cattledogs.

Classic Movies.

Black and White.

Worn Leather.

Walking just a bit further in the parking lot.

The Ocean.

Foggy Mornings.

Overcast days.

Skateboarding.

Being Stuck In A Good Book.

Chai Lattes.

Leica.

Hasselblad.

Comedy.

Bass Turned Up.

Driving With The Windows Down.

Friendly People.

Bicycles.

The Smell Of A Wood Shop.

New Mexico Sunsets.

Tattoos.

Vinyl Records.

Surfing.

An Old Favorite Pair of Jeans.

A Blank Canvas.

Cello Music.

Eyes.

People Watching.

Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Reggae.

Late Nights.

People.

The Darkroom.

Polaroid.

Hot Pizza.

Cold Iced Tea.

Winding Roads.

Fiber Paper.

Rock n' Roll.

Rebels.

Vison.

Love.

Stillness.

Josef Koudelka.

Cinema.

Popcorn.

Forests.

Andrei Tarkovsky.

The Road In.

Endless Skys.

Spinach.

// and much, much, much more to be added later.

Tell me some things that you love.

-Jesse

Running Special for the Months of Sept. // Oct.

The goal is to reach out and find people who will appreciate the craft of an #analogportrait session. This is not your typical portrait session. It is relaxed. It is slowed down. No time limit. Beautiful locations and beautiful light. Collaboration of craft goes into this far beyond the pushing of a few buttons. 

Mention the ad for the $50 off regular pricing. Book today.

FacebookflyerFilPortraits.jpg

Coming Up For Air // Taking Time To Breathe.

The last six months have been some of the most stressful and eye opening. But that is a whole other blog post. Taking some time off to catch my thoughts and live some life. Heading out on the road with the love of my life. Need some space between me and this crazy town to expand my mind and lighten my heart. Would love to return to the 505 with a few booked #analogportrait sessions as this beautiful fall weather is approaching.

Email me to set this up, put #analogportraits in the subject line: jesse@jesselittlebird.com.

Follow my instagram at @jesselittlebird for updates.

Other than that I'm turned off and eyes open to what the road has for us.

You know there will be photos from our experience when we get back. Taking only film cameras, besides the X100s which Shaandiin will be using. 

We'll say hello to mother ocean for you!

Check back soon,

Jesse

Elliot and LaRue's Wedding Day

I had the opportunity to shoot my good friend's Elliot wedding a couple weekends ago. He married his best friend LaRue and their wedding was a quaint backyard wedding which was beautifully decorated. I enjoyed documenting the day for them. Though I shot the majority of the day on digital I was proud to forever showcase the moment on 35mm and 120 film. I shot with my Leica and Hasselblad for all the shots that I had pre-meditated. The film ones stand out and have a depth to them. They aren't better, just a different look and a different approach I had to take to get them. Here are a few of the choice shots I was proud to make for them.

Thank you once again to Elliot and LaRue for choosing me as their documentarian for the evening and CONGRATULATIONS once again! 

Time // Letting Your Work Marinate // Selfies

PERSONAL WORK // ITS LIKE COOKING

I'm going to talk about past work and how it relates to your current vision and journey. I will go into letting your work "marinate" and what that means to me and how I have looked at my approach. My examples will be series from a few years ago and current series I have begun or look to delve deeper into. Sarcasm everywhere. I'll get all "spiritual", "artsy", on you but know that I openly laugh at people that speak that way. Take it all with a grain of salt. You might get "it" you might not. No worries, I'm just farting ideas late in the night. Because I think one of the most pressing things to keep in your thoughts as photographers and artists is to not take yourself too seriously and at the same time being about your work fully.

I was cleaning and sorting out old hard drives when I ran across a project I had done for a photography class awhile back. It was a self portrait one. At the time I shot it I wasn't too impressed or happy with what I had come up with. But looking back on this series I found things that I liked about it. I thought back to what my original idea was and had I accomplished it? No. But looking back on past work is very important to photographers and artist alike. Hell it is good for everyone to take a step back and look at prior accomplishments as well as failures. But it is also important to keep in mind that the journey to a place of clarity is always happening. It never stops.

Think of work that is personal to you as a ribeye steak. (Sorry to all the vegetarians out there) How do you go about preparing a beautiful juicy ribeye steak? Well first off you've got to run down to your local butcher and pick only the choice meat out. 1. This is formation and organizing of ideas. Once you've talked to the butcher and peered over the goods you settle on a fine slab of meat. You then go about thinking of what will compliment the steak as a meal and get those items before taking it back to your one bedroom apartment and plopping that steak in the freezer. 2. This is the commitment to going fully into your work for the time being. You then choose a night ripe enough to feast on the meal you had previously thought out. 3. This is moment of acting on your idea. So this is where we get to the prime (excuse the pun) point of this post. What do you do before all else in preparing the steak for dinner? You tenderize and marinate that toughened meat up. 4. This is where our ideas are made reality. We make work all the time. We go gun ho getting our cameras out and shoot, shoot, shooting away. Acting on ideas, having so much ambition but then the final product rolls around and... we're disappointed. Why? We approached it with fury. We studied all the handbooks. We shot it technically correct. We composed, composed, composed. We watched every light tutorial, we had every person working on it doing what they were supposed to do. We then show it to all our friends, colleagues, relatives and peers for approval and yes we do receive it. Yet we look at it with some unfilled half smile.

You see what we did is we didn't or haven't yet let our work marinate.When working with work that is more personal to myself. I at first didn't approach it this way. I was Joe Shmo photographer. Hey look at me! DSLR! Nikon over Canon! No one else is a photographer but me! Here's my work isn't it awesome?! I hadn't yet found out the importance of letting my work marinate. (Among other things.) I now have to take a step back from my work and look at it. Not happy with it? I used to throw it away, but now, I save it. I then come back to it. See what is successful in it. See what isn't. But all while keeping in mind that it is step #4 on to making my meal. Ideas need time to marinate, they need to be acted upon yes, but they need proper time to soak and become softened. Not tough and hard to figure out. Not a puzzle. But something that is smooth and can be put together easily.

Here are two self portraits that I found deep within the caves of my old hard drive. When I found them, I wasn't disgusted with them like I was when I gave up on editing them and wanting to reshoot. I wasn't nit picking over all the details of, digital noise, blown highlights, blacks not strong enough there, white balance all funky, not sharp here or there, etc. etc. Instead I looked at them and remembered the idea I had when I took them. I saw how I tried to accomplish that. I began to put the pieces together in how I could approach it again. It had marinated!

A few words on self portraits. It has become the biggest trend among all people in this now digitalized age. The word "selfie" is actually now in the Webster's English Dictionary. But the interesting thing that I have always had with self images in photography is: we chose what we want others to see. We create people we think we are. We create people we think we aren't. We portray these images out into the world knowing people will judge but also I think seeking acceptance. So I think a selfie here and again is healthy. It lets you look at yourself, lets you be honest or dishonest as to who you are portraying out into the word. Just keep that in mind.